GSP splits with agent Shari Spencer

January 20, 2011

Georges St. Pierre has split with his agent since 2007, Shari Spencer. A press release Thursday provided the news of the change in management and described the split as amicable.

According to the press release, “They (GSP-Spencer) felt they had a different vision for the future of Georges’ career and it was best to remain close personally but dissolve their business relationship.” (via MMA Fighting)

St. Pierre will remain at Hollywood talent agency, Creative Arts Agency. But, he will choose a new manager. It is rumored that he will hire a close friend to take over for Spencer.

Spencer, who runs her own company, continues to manage UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar.

Payout Perspective:

In September we commented on GSP’s feature in the NY Times’ Fashion and Style section (definitely the work of Spencer) and wondered if he would become the face for the UFC. The article chronicled GSP’s foray into NY fashion week. An underlying theme in the piece was that GSP seemed uncomfortable with the mainstream New York scene…and perhaps his role as the spokesperson for the UFC. Spencer’s work had helped GSP obtain mainstream sponsors (Gatorade and Under Armour) as well as appearances on ESPN and non-MMA magazines.

Despite the publicity, the speculation is that the mainstream glitz was not his scene. GSP did not like selling himself to Madison Avenue and did not like the time that went into dealing with sponsors. GSP would rather dedicate himself to time in the gym rather than build his brand or become the face for the UFC. Will GSP continue to be a mainstream pitchman? If he does not want to spend time in building his brand through sponsors, his opportunities may be limited and relegated to what CAA can bring him.  (h/t Robert Joyner via twitter)

GSP may be an introvert, or insecure about his place in celebrity, and retreating from being a pitchman may be his wish. Rereading the NY Times article and looking at some of the attempts at comedy GSP has done (see ESPN commercials), he tries, but seems grossly uncomfortable. From an athletic standpoint, concentrating on fighting is probably a good thing. But, from a business perspective, GSP is leaving a lot of opportunities on the table. This may be something that GSP may regret in 10 years.

5 Responses to “GSP splits with agent Shari Spencer”

  1. Machiel Van on January 21st, 2011 7:51 AM

    On the other hand, the potential value of his brand would take a substantial hit were he to lose even a few fights. GSP is determined to be the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, and if he feels he has to shirk a few sponsorships and media opportunities in order to do it then so be it. I say good for him. It’s refreshing to see an athlete so committed to honing their craft and striving for greatness instead of increased fame and riches. It’s seems like that’s a rare quality these days in the world of professional sports. If GSP goes down as the greatest MMA fighter in history, the value of his brand will be secure. It’s plausible.

  2. Machiel Van on January 21st, 2011 7:52 AM

    Perhaps the added focus on training will result in the ever-elusive St. Pierre finish?

  3. Kelsey Philpott on January 21st, 2011 10:13 AM

    It amazes me that this entire story has developed to the point that St-Pierre looks like someone who is an inconsistent, disloyal, flip-flopper without any dedication to the sport or his training. It’s ludicrous.

    St-Pierre’s agent at CAA was the one handling the majority of the corporate relationship stuff (e.g., Under Armour and Gatorade): targeting, pitching, negotiating, and in some cases servicing. I suspect he’ll continue to work with CAA, perhaps leaning more heavily on them.

    In the end, St-Pierre is only as good or valuable as his last fight. If he continues to win, he’ll continue to get new and better offers. Hence, we might be seeing a bit of this push back on someone of the more unnecessary fashion stuff.

  4. CodeMaster on January 21st, 2011 11:29 PM

    GSP is currently a multi-millionaire who makes over a million dollars a fight. This amount should increase over the next two years, win or lose. In addition, GSP makes money through some very lucrative sponsorships.

    Though sponsorships and fight income are not on the level of a Tiger Woods, my bet is GSP is reasonably happy with his current wealth and prospects, and while he would like to increase it with selective sponsorships requiring minimal effort, I think there are limits to how much he chooses to be a media whore.

    I think the ‘different visions’ refers truthfully to a real difference between marketing philosophies which goes beyond a ‘show me the money’ strategy. GSP has probably been uncomforatable for some time with Sherri’s approach.

    Given his popularity, I suspect who ever manages his account will have an easy time gaining sponsorship dollars.

  5. tyler on January 23rd, 2011 11:56 PM

    At the end of the day, the one thing that will always limit GSP and his ability to generate income will be his accent. In Canada I hear people talk about him with a snigger because he talks funny. I see no reason why it would be any different in other parts of North America or Europe, especially Germany and the UK. They may appreciate his dedication but it will be tough to translate into dollars. It is why foreign athletes always seem to under deliver in terms of dollars and cents. Just ask Anderson Silva.

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